Monday, April 29, 2013

Bravo 10 Percent Solution in Wisconsin!

Wisconsin is beginning another round of tough debates on transportation funding, originating in the Walker administration’s sharp pull to the right in this field as in most others.
In brief, in his pending budget proposal the Governor continues to pursue the policy direction of increasing funding for state highways at the expense of transit, local road, and bike/ped.
This time, proponents of a 21st century, multimodal, environmentally friendly transportation policy have countered with a crisp, clear alternative – the “10 percent solution” (here).  The alternative suggests cutting state highway spending in the budget by 10 percent, which would permit increasing spending on transit and local roads by 10 percent and still save money.  I have not run the numbers myself, but based on earlier research I have done on Wisconsin, they seem very realistic.
Congrats to WISPIRG, Sierra Club, and 1000 Friends of Wisconsin for a first-class effort!
A very important budget topic not addressed by the 10 percent solution is the proposed transfer of general funds to the transportation fund.  As I have stated repeatedly, this is dangerous business for transportation, effectively diverting money from a variety of social needs and ultimately pitting advocates for those programs against advocates for transportation.

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